About: Equality Now

Our Mission: to achieve legal and systemic change that addresses violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world.

Founded in 1992, Equality Now is an organization that advocates for the human rights of women and girls around the world by raising international visibility of individual cases of abuse, mobilizing public support through our global membership, and wielding strategic political pressure to ensure that governments enact or enforce laws and policies that uphold the rights of women and girls. With offices in New York, Nairobi and London and presences in Amman, Jordan and Washington, DC, our areas of focus include Discrimination in Law, Sexual Violence, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Trafficking. Combining grassroots activism with international, regional and national legal advocacy, we envision a world in which women and men have equal rights under the law and full enjoyment of those rights.

Our Guiding Principles:

  • Gender equality: as human beings women and girls should have equal rights to men under the law and equal opportunity to enjoy their human rights.
  • Universality: despite differing cultural contexts, issues affecting women and girls are universal in nature. Therefore, maintaining a global outlook is essential when forming collaborations, including coalitions that can influence local as well as national and international processes and standards.
  • Reciprocity in partnerships: the fundamental value guiding our partnerships and networking with grassroots groups and activists is reciprocity in exchange of information and ideas. We believe that our value in these partnerships is to provide an international overlay of support to ongoing processes.
  • Standing by our principles: We are ambitious in the types of issues and cases that we take on – many of these are seen as controversial, infinitely complex and/or hopeless. However, our past history shows successes in affecting the legal frameworks and mind-sets in cases such as these; we are not afraid of taking risks if we believe that we can have a significant positive impact.

Our Methods: Equality Now employs a social change model that links high level international and legal advocacy to specific cases of women and girls to ensure change at all levels.

  • International advocacy, including through mobilization of our network
  • Awareness-raising through highlighting individual cases of violations and use of traditional and social media
  • Partnerships and coalition-building with grassroots level women’s rights groups
  • Strengthening international and regional human rights law and mechanisms to better address the rights of women and girls
  • Conducting strategic litigation at national, regional and international levels to establish legal precedents
  • Mobilizing financial and capacity-building support

Legal advocacy is necessary for the creation of sustainable and systemic change for women and girls; by publicizing individual stories, while at the same time providing support and legal advice to the partners and networks who take on cases, Equality Now has a proven track record of contributing to breakthrough results.

Our Areas of Focus:

The Adolescent Girls Legal Defense Fund (AGLDF) is a crosscutting project that supports impact litigation on issues that represent the most common human rights abuses of adolescent girls.